Monday, November 1, 2010

Comfort Food

Biscuits and gravy has been one of my favorite breakfast foods for as long as I can remember. It was part of the thrill of eating out for breakfast. It was not, however, something we had at home. I had them at a little restaurant in Chino, California, known as Flo's Diner, served atop a mountain of hash browns with eggs and coffee on the side. I took my husband there and he was not impressed. He said the food tasted like cigarettes. I think it was all in his head.
I have had gravy made with bacon, sausage and even ground beef. Of course there is white gravy with no meat, but that doesn't even count. I have to say the worst by far was the ground beef version. We had that at a diner in Washington, when I was up there for my brother's wedding. I was perusing the menu with my husband and I said, "I wonder what SOS is..." He whispers to me, "You don't want to know." And proceeded to explain it was something his dad had told him about, consisting of ground beef gravy on toast. Now, perhaps you have had that and it was good, but I think it pretty much lives up to its name....
I am pretty particular about my gravy, I like thick, white gravy with big flecks of black pepper. I like it a little spicy, over some pretty tender biscuits. My children and husband love it too, and my sister FINALLY decided to try some a few months back, and now, she cleans up all the leftovers....without being asked. I will wander back into the kitchen some hours later and find her reheating a biscuit for her second breakfast.

So, after some trial and error, and picking up some tips from grandmas I know, I have a process similar to this: brown some spicy bulk sausage. Use a slotted spoon and scoop out the cooked sausage, leaving as much of the drippings in the pan as possible. Add butter and flour then whisk in milk. Add salt and pepper and you're done! It's amazingly delicious, and you could experiment with other types of sausage, like sage, but I have actually never ventured from the hot. It is just our favorite.

Prepare biscuits

For the Gravy
1/2 lb hot sausage, homemade or purchased
3 cups milk
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the sausage and set it aside. Add butter to drippings and melt. Sprinkle flour over the drippings, and whisk, cooking over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle in the warm milk and continue whisking and cooking until the mixture becomes smooth. Add salt and pepper. Return to medium high heat and cook for about one minute. Taste the sauce. There should be no trace of flour. Whisk in sausage, and taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve over fresh biscuits.

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